April 18, 2017
The re-sailing on Monday of Turkish research vessel ‘Barbaros’ within divided Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone is a provocation, Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides told Active FM radio on Tuesday.
But Nicosia refuses to fall into the trap of a possible new Turkish communication game that could cast a doubt over the island’s sovereign rights, he added.
“We trust our actions, and we also trust actions taken by neighbouring states and by states of the EU,” he also said.
“We are not going to fall into the trap set by Turkey which wants us to get involved into a public game of doubting our own sovereign rights.”
The Barbaros vessel’s activities have been the cause for UN-brokered Cyprus reification talks to freeze in the past, after it was sent to carry out research in Cyprus’ EEZ.
Ankara is again escalating its rhetoric against upcoming oil and gas exploration within the Republic’s EEZ despite the on-going reunification talks in Nicosia.
Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara would take “steps” in the Eastern Mediterranean if natural gas exploration offshore Cyprus goes ahead.
It is not the first time Turkey, which invaded the island back in 1974 and still maintains thousands of troops in the breakaway north, has interfered with the Republic’s sovereign rights.
The fresh threats came days after natural gas exploration offshore Cyprus got a second lease of life as the government signed new exploration licences with energy giants ExxonMobil, ENI and Total.
Up to 12 drillings are anticipated within the next two years, with hopes that enough gas can be found to start producing and selling the valuable resource.
Nicosia’s repeated message to Turkish Cypriots is that the sooner additional quantities of hydrocarbons are found offshore Cyprus, the sooner the government can get to monetisation.